A journal of academic theology

December 2005 editorial

Theological Studies was founded in 1940 while the effects of the papal condemnation of Catholic Modernism were still lingering, while Europe was already in the throes of World War II, but the United States was debating, before Pearl Harbor, whether or not it should enter the war. In these parlous circumstances, American Jesuits hesitated about starting a theological journal. Could they manage a journal on their own? Would there be enough readers willing to pay an annual five dollars for four issues each averaging some 200 pages? Since there was no U.S. counterpart to the European Jesuit journals such as the Nouvelle revue théologique (1869), Zeitschrift für katholische Theologie (1876),  Recherches de sciences religieuses (1913),Gregorianum (1920),  or Bijdragen (1938), prospects seemed promising. Surely the then six theological faculties manned by the Society of Jesus in the United States–Alma College (California), St. Mary’s (Kansas), West Baden (Indiana), Weston College (Massachusetts),  and Woodstock College (Maryland), as well as the diocesan seminary in suburban Chicago, St. Mary of Lake (Mundelein)–could produce a first-rate theological journal. And since several voices of American Catholic theological scholarship had been silenced by the suppression of the short-lived The New York Review (1905-1908), published out of St. Joseph’s Seminary, Dunwoodie, New York, and by the suspension, at least temporarily, of the American Ecclesiastical Review (1889-1903), the need was real.

Scroll to Top